Finger Lakes Community College invites the public to a groundbreaking ceremony to build turf fields at the main campus to allow for expanded team rosters, better playing conditions, the ability to play more games and the ability to host tournaments.
The ceremony is scheduled for Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the project site behind the main building at 3325 Marvin Sands Drive. The Ontario County Board of Supervisors gave final approval on April 19 for the $5.95 million project to build softball, baseball and lacrosse fields behind the main campus building. Construction will start in early May and end in February 2019.
“We will be on these fields next spring, and they can’t come too soon,” said FLCC Athletics Director Bob Lowden. Due to the cold, snowy spring, FLCC teams have had little outdoor practice time and the women’s softball team had not yet played on college fields as of April 24. Many lacrosse home games are currently played on other fields due to excess water on the FLCC field.
The new turf fields will have lighting, enabling FLCC to host high school and college tournaments. Such events will provide a return on investment for the community by bringing in visitors and offering more opportunity for the local sports community. Currently, the only large-scale sports events FLCC hosts are regional and national cross-country meets on its Bruce Bridgman course. The project would also make it possible to add a women’s lacrosse team in the near future.
Lowden added that improved facilities will help with recruitment of student athletes, many of whom come from high schools that already have turf fields. The college would like to encourage more students to join athletics as data on student retention shows that student athletes are more likely to stay in school than the overall student population.
“Athletics makes students more engaged in their college experience and provides a community of support. Getting in more practice time – and having home games at home – will improve our teams’ performance, but we also want more students out on those fields,” said Lowden.
The project will be funded as follows: $1,950,000 from the FLCC Association, the affiliated nonprofit that provides auxiliary services such as the bookstore and housing; $550,000 from the Student Corporation; $250,000 in private fundraising, $326,514 in Ontario County capital improvement funding; and $2,876,514 in state matching funds, which is included in the current state budget. The county funds are part of its annual maintenance budget for FLCC and includes funds unspent from previous capital projects.
The FLCC Foundation will oversee private fundraising, which will include naming opportunities. The baseball scoreboard will be named for the late Jeffrey Stahl, who was a pitcher on the teams that won the NCJAA Region III Tournament in 1992 and 1994. The FLCC Foundation has received a challenge grant in which every gift to the turf field fund will be matched by an anonymous donor up to $125,000.